The Columbia/HCA juggernaut steams on. On May 23, the hospital giant agreed to acquire Dallas-based Medical Care America, the nation's largest operator of outpatient surgery centers, for stock valued at about $859 million. It's Columbia/HCA's third big deal in a year, following its $3.8 billion purchase of Galen Health Care and the $5.5 billion acquisition of HCA. Medical Care America fits nicely into that relentlessly expanding empire: Last year, the two companies began jointly operating hospital and outpatient surgery centers in six states. And 60% of Medical Care America's centers are in Columbia/HCA markets.
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